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Child Abandonment Laws

Child abandonment is typically defined as ‘willfully’ or ‘voluntarily’ abandoning the child without care or support. Child abandonment and child neglect laws differ from state to state. If you need more information on the law in your state, or if you want to know whether your specific situation qualifies as child abandonment or child neglect, seek the expert opinion of Lawyers on JustAnswer.

How to file for child abandonment?

If you are a parent filing a petition for child abandonment, you would first need to file a petition to terminate the other parent’s rights towards the child. There are specific grounds for terminating a parent’s rights including:

  • Abandonment of the child.
  • Child abuse/neglect.
  • Felony conviction/Incarceration.
  • Failure to pay parental support.
  • Sexual Abuse.

Depending on the severity of the situation, seeking legal counsel may be in order. Family Lawyers on JustAnswer can answer many questions about child abandonment law and point you in the right direction.

Is it child abandonment or neglect if one parent takes a child out of the state without the other parent’s consent?

Child abandonment is where a child is left alone, unattended and uncared for. If the child was in the care of an adult, especially a parent or guardian, then it would typically not constitute child abandonment. In order for the case to be considered for child abandonment, the child would have to have been left alone without food, shelter, medical care or adult supervision. Child neglect, however, could have more to do with the actions that were taken by the adult while caring for the child. If you have questions regarding child abandonment laws, just ask a lawyer on JustAnswer.

Is it child abandonment if a parent, already charged with this, falls behind on child support?

If there was a court order specifying a child support amount, and the amount is kept current, this is not considered child abandonment.

Can one parent file for custody due to child abandonment if the other left the home with the child sleeping?

The laws in each state address child abandonment issues differently. As such, how the court views a particular situation may depend on your state of residence. In most cases, the parent with a court order of child custody has sole rights to the child/children. Many times, the parent who files first will get custody of the child. If one parent can prove that the other somehow abandoned the child, this could make the custody hearing lean more in their favor. Since states differ on the laws of custody and child abandonment, consulting an attorney may be in order. If you are in this situation and do not know if you need to seek legal counsel, ask a Lawyer on JustAnswer.

Is leaving a child with their grandparent for several days considered abandonment?

In most cases, leaving a child in the care of grandparents would not be sufficient grounds for a claim of child abandonment. In most cases, it is considered child abandonment only if the child has been left totally alone with no apparent adult supervision. However, if the parent does not provide for the child, or show any immediate interest in the well-being of the child, the grandparents can consider filing for custody of the child on the grounds of neglect by the parent.

Child abandonment and child neglect are completely distinct offenses. However, both are considered serious issues. Most courts are considerate towards the best interest of a child who is dependent on parental care. During a divorce or legal separation, child custody and spite between the partners can give rise to situations where one parent may, rightly or otherwise, accuse the other of child neglect or abandonment. Being aware of child neglect and child abandonment laws is the only way to safeguard the best interests of your child and ensure you take the right legal measures to protect your child. A simple way to apprise yourself of your legal standing is to ask Lawyers on JustAnswer, who frequently answers questions related to the abandonment of children.

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